Step 4: Staying Asleep
As I shared in Step 2: Create A Sleep Sanctuary, I believe the most important step in quality sleep is eliminating environmental pollution, like Wi-Fi and EMF.
In my case, I still wake for two reasons:
- To pee. Did you know that mercury toxic people pee more frequently than non-toxic people?
- To take frequent-low-doses of ALA to get mercury out of my brain three nights a week.
- Limit consuming liquids in the evening.
- Try to not to stimulate my brain with thoughts or artificial lights. That means never turning on a light or checking emails, social media, or text messages at night.
But what if one still wakes up during the middle of the night and cannot fall back to sleep?
During my research, I read that a drop of Kava Kava at night can help a person stay asleep. However, according to Cutler, mercury toxic patients do not do well with it. And more importantly, although Kava Kava is a herb and not a pharmaceutical drug, it is still a band-aid and not a root cause remedy.
So what does one do to find the root cause? IMO, sleep troubles are symptoms — the body literally saying “Wake up! Something is not right.” I believe that as people age, it may become difficult to sleep through the night AND go back to sleep because “aging” means bio-accumulation of toxins. In many cases, Electro Magnetic Radiation from modern day technology effects the hormonal system (estrogen, cortisol, melatonin, etc) and is worth investigating.
So in order to find the root cause and then detox or supplement appropriately, I would work with a holistic / functional doctor to test (not guess!). And the good news is that most of these tests are appropriate for identifying many health challenges, not just the inability to sleep through the night or fall back to sleep. Here are a few examples:
- Heavy metal toxicity. Test: Doctor’s Data Metals and Essential Elements. Fairly inexpensive and non-invasive hair test.
- The liver (specifically enzymes). Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is a classic sign of adrenal fatigue. This, for example, can start with a taxed liver. When the liver is not able to keep up with detoxification, the body has higher inflammation and needs more cortisol from the adrenals. So before addressing hormones, I would work to clear the liver.
- Adrenals. Test: Sanesco / NeuroLab’s Adrenal Hormones Profile test measured salivary cortisol 4x/day and DHEA 2x/day. I thought the test was worth doing at lest once to see if my body’s cortisol was out of whack. My results were within normal ranges and I’m not so sure I would pay to re-test unless there were symptomatic reasons to do so.
- I heard a doctor who tests DHEA sulfate blood and thinks it is more accurate along with supplementing DHEA to help with adrenal support if DHEA is low. Everyone is different, but I would prioritize daily lifestyle changes first before supplementation — meditation, moderate exercise, food choices, and resetting circadian rhythm as discussed in the past few posts.
- Sex hormones. Test: Still looking…
- Thyroid. Test: At minimum T3, T4, RT3, thyroid antibodies & TPO blood serum test.
- Insulin. Balancing insulin levels throughout the day with less sugar, carbs, and stress is important. Some people may even need to eat a bit (1 to 2 ounces) of the right high-protein snack (e.g. hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or nuts) before bed-time to balance insulin and stay asleep.
- Parasite Test: Doctor’s Data Fecal. Parasites poop between 1-3 a.m. and wake their hosts up.
- Allergy Test: Blood serum IGE test. I know someone who had intestinal pains that kept her up at night. She finally gave up soy milk, tofu and other soy sources and was able to sleep better.
- Nutrient deficiencies. Test: Genova NutrEval